Where is the Justice? (October/November 2017)

Tom-Black

Tom Black

The level of government that affects people’s lives the most on a day to day basis is often our local municipal government. There are many reasons for this of course. Often locals go into politics with great intentions to fix what they perceive as the issues of the area, others enter the fray with possible alliances with developers or lobby groups such as environmentalists in the hope of influencing people on their boards to pass or remove legislation that could benefit their particular friends. Because most local politicians are usually very new to the political arena, they often don’t know what the responsibilities of local government really are. Now, everyone gets a crash course on what is expected of them, but the value of this course can only be as good as those who teach it, or how much the new politician accepts and applies the information.

So, should we be surprised when a local government creates a Property Standards Bylaw that sends bylaw officers out to raid private property and remove unapproved objects such as old cars, boats, trucks, bulldozers, doors, windows, and even a tire leaning against a barn. All this done WITHOUT a COURT ORDER or a WARRANT and even with the local police riding ‘shot-gun’ as the lock on the gate was cut and the ‘No Trespassing’ sign ignored.

At that point, the only recourse for the property owner is to take the council, bylaw officer, towing company and the police officer to court and charge all of them with breaking and entry and theft over $5000. Unfortunately, this is not the solution for stopping this from happening again in the next municipality. If it were, this case would have never happened, since Jim Moyer vs. Georgian Bluffs Township case in 2012 – Superior Court of Appeal involving exactly the same situation, would have been a deterrent for all municipalities who decided that they had the right to create such a bylaw. Where were their legals who are supposed to warn these amateur inexperienced politicians, that they cannot make bylaws that apply to private property?

Has the justice system failed us when these court cases that have been hard fought for and paid for by private property owners to defend their rights and the rights of others only to have those wins ignored by the lawmakers? How can the justice system sit idly by when in a case a few years ago, an OPP charged a senior woman who had shot a dog that was harassing her horses? This officer confiscated her guns and put her into a 2-year court case at great cost. When the judge seemed confused as to why she was charged and under what law, the case was thrown out. The lady had insisted to the officer that the law stated that it was her right to shoot any dog that was harassing her horses but the officer ignored it and charged her anyway, thus making the process, the penalty for standing up for your rights. A true justice system would have then charged that officer for abuse of power, waste of court time and compelled him to reimburse the lady for court time, mental anguish and the loss of 2 hunting seasons.

Back to local government! Nov. 15, 2017 the case of McLaughlin vs. Maynard was released. This case was about a park in Almonte that had been named after Mr. Maynards dad and now a few years later, the council had decided to allow development on it.(Landowner Magazine, April 2017, pg. 8) Mr. Maynard had been very vocal in opposition to this change, and eventually, Mayor McLaughlin filed a ‘defamation suit’ against Maynard. In the conclusion of the case, Justice Hurley, referred to another Landowner associated case in which Justice Pedlar ruled on Montague Township vs Page in 2006. In this case Mr. Page had criticized his local council and they filed a defamation suit against him. Justice Pedlar ruled “in a free and democratic system, every citizen must be guaranteed the right to freedom of expression about issues relating to government as an absolute privilege”. Mr. Page won that case and Mr. Maynard won this recent case.

In conclusion, we have every right to speak up at council, as Justice Pedlar says, it is an absolute right but to my way of thinking, every Tom, Dick and Harriet politician does not have the right to use the justice system to harass and punish people who disagree with them and when they do, there must be a consequence that is triggered when that happens. They should be charged with malicious prosecution by the crown to protect the individual who has had to fund his own case.

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Where is the Justice? (October/November 2017)

Tom-Black

Tom Black

The level of government that affects people’s lives the most on a day to day basis is often our local municipal government. There are many reasons for this of course. Often locals go into politics with great intentions to fix what they perceive as the issues of the area, others enter the fray with possible alliances with developers or lobby groups such as environmentalists in the hope of influencing people on their boards to pass or remove legislation that could benefit their particular friends. Because most local politicians are usually very new to the political arena, they often don’t know what the responsibilities of local government really are. Now, everyone gets a crash course on what is expected of them, but the value of this course can only be as good as those who teach it, or how much the new politician accepts and applies the information.

So, should we be surprised when a local government creates a Property Standards Bylaw that sends bylaw officers out to raid private property and remove unapproved objects such as old cars, boats, trucks, bulldozers, doors, windows, and even a tire leaning against a barn. All this done WITHOUT a COURT ORDER or a WARRANT and even with the local police riding ‘shot-gun’ as the lock on the gate was cut and the ‘No Trespassing’ sign ignored.

At that point, the only recourse for the property owner is to take the council, bylaw officer, towing company and the police officer to court and charge all of them with breaking and entry and theft over $5000. Unfortunately, this is not the solution for stopping this from happening again in the next municipality. If it were, this case would have never happened, since Jim Moyer vs. Georgian Bluffs Township case in 2012 – Superior Court of Appeal involving exactly the same situation, would have been a deterrent for all municipalities who decided that they had the right to create such a bylaw. Where were their legals who are supposed to warn these amateur inexperienced politicians, that they cannot make bylaws that apply to private property?

Has the justice system failed us when these court cases that have been hard fought for and paid for by private property owners to defend their rights and the rights of others only to have those wins ignored by the lawmakers? How can the justice system sit idly by when in a case a few years ago, an OPP charged a senior woman who had shot a dog that was harassing her horses? This officer confiscated her guns and put her into a 2-year court case at great cost. When the judge seemed confused as to why she was charged and under what law, the case was thrown out. The lady had insisted to the officer that the law stated that it was her right to shoot any dog that was harassing her horses but the officer ignored it and charged her anyway, thus making the process, the penalty for standing up for your rights. A true justice system would have then charged that officer for abuse of power, waste of court time and compelled him to reimburse the lady for court time, mental anguish and the loss of 2 hunting seasons.

Back to local government! Nov. 15, 2017 the case of McLaughlin vs. Maynard was released. This case was about a park in Almonte that had been named after Mr. Maynards dad and now a few years later, the council had decided to allow development on it.(Landowner Magazine, April 2017, pg. 8) Mr. Maynard had been very vocal in opposition to this change, and eventually, Mayor McLaughlin filed a ‘defamation suit’ against Maynard. In the conclusion of the case, Justice Hurley, referred to another Landowner associated case in which Justice Pedlar ruled on Montague Township vs Page in 2006. In this case Mr. Page had criticized his local council and they filed a defamation suit against him. Justice Pedlar ruled “in a free and democratic system, every citizen must be guaranteed the right to freedom of expression about issues relating to government as an absolute privilege”. Mr. Page won that case and Mr. Maynard won this recent case.

In conclusion, we have every right to speak up at council, as Justice Pedlar says, it is an absolute right but to my way of thinking, every Tom, Dick and Harriet politician does not have the right to use the justice system to harass and punish people who disagree with them and when they do, there must be a consequence that is triggered when that happens. They should be charged with malicious prosecution by the crown to protect the individual who has had to fund his own case.

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